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Life Works

20 October 2018 - 3 February 2019

Image credit: Chila Kumari Singh Burman, Love Not Gold, 2009, Cibachrome print.  Image courtesy of the artist

We close our galleries on the ground floor at 16:00 on Sunday 7 October 2018 and reopen with our new exhibition on Saturday 20 October 2018, please join us from 11:00 onwards for talks, tours and conversations with artists.

Our autumn season of exhibitions present artists who have dedicated their artistic lives to their cause. Cumbrian folk art, feminist Black Arts activism and LGBTQI rights shape two solo shows and one group exhibition.

Chila Kumari Singh Burman, Tales of Valiant Queens

Chila Kumari Burman is a British Asian artist who makes prints, sculptures and films that explore the intersection of gender, class and ethnicity in the construction of identity. Her vibrant work is rooted in her understanding of the diverse and hybrid nature of culture as shaped by her upbringing in a working class Punjabi Hindu family in Liverpool.

This exhibition surveys her practice, bringing together works made between the 1970s and today that focus on themes of female empowerment, social and political activism, folk traditions and colonial legacies.

Making, A Life is an exhibition of the work of the Cumbrian Folk artist Peter Hodgson and collaborators. It includes pieces in diverse materials including ceramics, leather, horn, textiles, wood, print-making, writing and film. The exhibition re-appraises relationships between folk art, contemporary art, and design.

For the Middlesbrough iteration of this exhibition, a newly made piece, The Middlesbrough Quilt, will be shown. The hand-made quilt has been crafted over many months by Cloth Club, a constituent group who meet to learn and share skills in textiles.

Living Beyond Limits

To be queer is to be erased from public space and to persist, nevertheless, in making yourself heard. This exhibition queers the museum by reclaiming it as a communal and political space within which marginal voices will not be silenced.

Living Beyond Limits showcases works from the Middlesbrough Collection by artists whose life or work deviate from long-held western norms around gender and sexuality. However, in this context, queerness is more than an identity marker. The focus of this show is political and activist, and it includes themes around racism, sexism and class inequalities.

The permanent Middlesbrough Collection presentation highlights the influence and use of art in the town. The exhibition is shaped through a dialogue with the community, and features works made by British and international artists in diverse media, including painting, ceramics, video, jewellery, drawing, sculpture and print.


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